Original Research

The prophetic voice of the South African Council of Churches: A weak voice in post-1994 South Africa

Mookgo S. Kgatle
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a5153 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.5153 | © 2018 Mookgo S. Kgatle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 June 2018 | Published: 19 November 2018

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One of the factors that dismantled the apartheid system in South Africa was the prophetic voice of many religious leaders who emerged from ecumenical formations and fought the system by speaking truth to power. However, many scholars agree that the attainment of democracy in 1994 caused the prophetic voice to become silent. This article argues that the prophetic voice is not silent but rather weak in post-1994 South Africa. There are three reasons for this weakness: (1) the prophetic voice became part of the democratic government system, (2) the system swallowed it, and (3) the prophets retired without passing the baton. The article also seeks to highlight some of the recent events and national challenges in South Africa like Marikana, #FeesMustFall, State Capture, Life Esidimeni and Expropriation of Land, where the prophetic voice has been weak. Ways to strengthen the prophetic voice are proposed here as part of the recommendations.


Prophetic voice; South African Council of Churches; World Council of Churches; Africa Conference of Churches; democracy


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